Not many people have taken the plunge to use mobile payments full-time, but a very high number have dipped a toe in the water.
Seventy-five percent of consumers say they have made at least one mobile payment in the past 12 months, up from 40% in May of 2015, according to the latest First Annapolis Consulting mobile banking and payments study.
This doesn't indicate that there will be a sudden flood of adoption, but the increase in the number of people willing to give mobile payments a test drive bodes well for the future, said Melissa Fox, senior manager at First Annapolis.
It is certain that some consumers will try mobile payments once and maybe never try it again, but it is more likely that the experience will warm them to trying the technology again at some point, Fox said.
"Study results show satisfaction rates are high, even among those who have only used it once to date," Fox added. "This suggests to us that repeat usage and frequency of use are likely to increase as opportunities to use mobile payments expands."
First Annapolis surveyed 1,528 U.S. consumers between the ages of 18 and 54 who owned a smartphone, and had a checking account or debit card. The online survey took place two months ago.
"As adoption increases, frequency of use will become a more important metric," said Fox. "But for now, the increase in at least one use is the statistic that really speaks to the growing importance of digital as a channel for banking and payments."
It will also be critical for banks and payments providers to keep an eye on data that reveals how many consumers are storing a payment card in a mobile app, Fox said.
"Currently, 48% of respondents reported having loaded and stored payment information with an app," Fox added. "As m-commerce increases, those stored credentials — and which ones are stored where — will become increasingly important."
Not surprisingly, the study also confirms that younger consumers are trying out mobile payments, but the uptake is not limited to Millennials. Eighty-two percent of respondents younger than 35 have made a mobile payment, compared to 64% of those 45 to 54.
In the younger than 35 range, 37% said they have made a mobile person-to-person payment, compared to only 15% in the 45 to 54 range.
Of those surveyed, 35% had an iPhone capable of using Apple Pay, while 28% had Andoid devices and 21% had a Samsung Galaxy. Overall, 82% had a device capable of using Apple Pay, Android Pay or Samsung Pay.
When making a mobile payment, 55% said they did so online or as an in-app purchase, a bump up from 23% in May 2015 and 39% in December of 2015. Most commonly, they were paying a bill, at 54%.
In-store payments through mobile devices remained low, with only 23% saying they have completed a mobile transaction at the physical point of sale. That is slightly higher than the 20% in December of 2015 but shows steady increase with that mark at 16% in May of 2015.
Fifty-one percent said they had a mobile wallet loaded on their phones, with another 27% saying they did not have a wallet app loaded but were interested in doing so in the future.
Apple Pay at 36% and PayPal at 21% were most frequently cited by respondents, followed by Google at 15%.
Only 7% cited their bank as a current mobile wallet provider, but the survey supported an industry consensus that consumers, at 45%, view their banks as the most preferred provider of a mobile payment option.
"Different banks will likely interpret the data different ways," Fox said. "Our interpretation is that while adoption of mobile payments has been slower than anticipated, the trend is steady and clear, and banks have an opportunity to capitalize on that."
Widespread acceptance was cited as the most important feature of a mobile wallet, indicating consumer frustration that mobile wallets are not supported by all merchants. Fifty-four percent of those who have made at least one mobile payment in the past said they would use it as a primary payment method for most purchases if all merchants had tap-and-go readers. Another 36% said they would use it for some purchases if all merchants accepted mobile wallets.
All of the "Pays" are enjoying increases in usage, with 89% saying they were aware of Apple Pay, and 31% saying they used it to make a purchase. For Android Pay, 64% said they were aware of the system but only 9% had made a purchase. While Apple Pay has been in place for nearly two years, Android Pay made its U.S. debut in mid 2015.
For Samsung Pay, 54% said they were aware of it, and 13% said they had used it to make a purchase. Samsung Pay became available to U.S. consumers in September of 2015.
Mobile banking continues to advance in all age groups, with 72% of respondents saying they use the service. Mobile banking users are highly engaged, the report said, as 47% say they log into the app once or twice a week, and 31% said they log in daily.
Security concerns continue to plague mobile payment adoption, as 64% said security was a main reason holding them back from making more mobile payments. Another 42% said they had "no need" to make mobile payments, while 18% said non-mobile was more convenient.
Ultimately, any survey or discussion about mobile payments is the basis for a larger trend affecting banks and payments, Fox said. "It's less about mobile wallets, per se, and more about securing their [banks] role in a world where the primary mode of engagement is digital."